You might have noticed no pictures of Sally, the oyster, the last two days.
That is because.
I ate her.
I thought it only fitting end.
Is it possible to have a visceral reaction to a pair of boots?
Fourty days. Gone. Can’t say I read every single day but came very close.
Thoughts on transformation. I heard a sermon recently that stuck with me big time.
Everybody is for godly character. We want our children not to cheat on their tests, roommates who don’t steal our Oreos and spouses who don’t buy the most awesome pair of Frye harness boots and hide them forever (only wearing them when the spouse is not around) or in bed when he is asleep.
We’re not against godly character in others. In fact ~ we’re for it. As long as it isn’t something we have to worry about for ourselves.
Though it’s funny, the more we hang out with God, love, joy, patience, peace and self control begins to appear…without trying.
But then there are those nagging issues. Those ones that are really hard for us to nip. Cheating, gossip, tempers, all assorted immoral goodies, pride, raging insecurity, overspending, maybe overeating or over drinking…
Those things we CAN”T transform. Things that medicate some deep need within us.
With my own will and strength, I can follow rules and be a much better Jamie, but then there are things that reach out to grip me taunting, “See you’ll never truly transform.”
I’m going to let you in on a little secret. If you really want to change ~ if your tired of working and striving to be the best Jamie but always falling short.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Ours MINDs are the key.
Give God control of your thoughts. Not the internet, movies, books, music, friend’s advice, Fox or Headline News.
Read the bible. Write scriptures that deal with your issue…lust, pride, hurtful tongue and commit them to memory.
And when the moment of decision comes ~ just say,
“Jesus I can’t handle this. But you can. Jesus I can’t handle this. But you living in me … can.”
You know what. He does. In fact, He loves to…
And of course, I couldn’t eat Sally. That was a joke.
I miss her terribly but she had to go minister to her oyster folk.
Bye Sally. I love you. Have a happy oyster life serving the Lord. j
Sally wanted to tell the other oysters about Jesus ~ but when she felt a prompting ~ she clammed up. Every time.
Sharing your faith. Does that freak you out?
Today’s reading reminds us that Jesus called us to be fishers of men. (and women and children)
Do you wonder — what am I going to say? Or think — I’ll just sound stupid?
Keep this in mind.
People don’t care what you know, till they know how much you care.
If you care about Jesus, if he has changed your heart — you will witness to others. Focus on Jesus, his love for you and leading to others to Christ will be effortless.
Great quote ~
“If you hear a voice within you say ‘You are not a painter,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” Vincent Van Gogh
If Van Gogh had doubts about painting, that’s a comfort to all. Push through doubt and act.
One painter’s style or medium is not another’s. Show 50 artists a field of wildflowers and they’ll create 50 completely different impressions on canvas (and some not on canvas.)
Each is a beautiful expression of creation filtered through an individual’s soul, mind and emotions.
Live your life in Christ, listening and following the Holy Spirit’s promptings. If in commune, we can’t help but fish.
It’s really not hard. But it does take action.
What holds me back from throwing out my net?
I really hate all the algae and gook that gets stuff in there. It’s really a mess to clean out a net after you use it. But if you don’t clean it out ~ it stinks.
How can God help me be more confident about sharing my faith?
He’s waiting. All the time. Ask for wisdom and power. Then pick up the brush.
Sally would watch the lobsters saunter past. She tried to warn them, but they'd head straight into the trap ~ everytime.
Lobsters evidently grow a lot. That’s what we learned in today’s reading.
I got hungry.
Thinking about those green shells tossed into hot boiling water (Sorry this post is not for the squeamish) and turning as a Red Hot.
Some days things just go from bad to worse.
My favorite quote of the book so far ~
Spiritual life does not remove us from the world but leads us deeper into it. ~ Henri J. M. Nouwen
Our existence is on several planes.
We know people who only skim the surface of emotions and relationships. Then there are those who dive right in and get all sticky.
It’s the same with God and the spiritual realm.
Like emotional and relational depth, if we travel into the spiritual realm without much discipline things can get quite off kilter. Rather quickly.
We have to grow in the right way. Recognize like the lobster, when we are waiting on that new shell to harden up we are vunerable.
The only way to grow the right way is to learn from the right voice.
To be devoted to study, thought, action and prayer to the spiritual power above all spiritual powers.
Disciplined study, thought, action and prayer.
Do I do things for God out of love and discipline?
Really that would take this post in a different direction. And I am reaching 250 words. Short answer ~ if I concentrate on the love of God and how much it is evident in this world (see earlier quote) self is lessened and discipline to God becomes an ever-increasing way of being…
Does Ingles still have lobsters? Or is that just Publix?
Sally the oyster found the more she prayed the more she conformed to God’s will. Or was it conformed to her shell?
It’s not really “you lose” today.
It’s more the products of prayer. “You lose” just rhymed.
Products of prayer.
- You lose. (Okay, doesn’t rhyme this time, either.)
How does prayer change me?
It changes me for the better. The problem is that the resulting peace never seems to last. I have to keep plugging back into the source.
What’s the biggest challenge for me when it comes to conforming to God’s will?
That is easy. One common thing ~ that shall remain a secret. For now, anyway.
When have I seen prayer help strengthen the community around me?
That is easy too. My Women of Faith Sunday School class. We did a study on prayer – and during that study, we learned of the power of “praying in one accord.” James 4:3. Whenever someone is going through a trial, we surround that person, holding hands – and pray. The key is while someone is praying, you concentrate on the words spoken by the person praying.
That kind of praying make you tight as group. Not like your jeans after spending too much time in the dryer on high. But the best kind of tight.
Sally the oyster couldn't do much ~ bedridden as she was. But she could pray for her friends. And pray she did.
I love this from the story of Acts. And it was the first thing I thought of after reading Mathison’s thoughts about church dynamics and prayer.
Peter and John had been proclaiming Jesus’ resurrection in Jerusalem; those is charge of the religiosity ~ didn’t like it.
They had healed a man, lame from birth ~ then as he clung to them ~ Peter preached (and I take it that Peter could really preach.)
The council had them arrested and held a trial.
Peter and John spoke to the rulers, elders and scribes ….”And when they (the council) had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way to punish them.” Acts. 4:21.
After they were freed, they raced back to their friends and reported everything.
Persecution of the early church in Jerusalem had started…this ultimately was the spark spread the gospel to the known world…but really, persecution by those in religious power?
I’ll sleep in that Sunday.
When Peter and John told them of their adventure, what did these new believers ask in prayer? For money, food, clothes, safety from authorities, that my child be on a certain 4-5 year old soccer team?
(Okay, this is my most favorite thing in all the bible, maybe because I am the biggest chicken east of Marietta.)
“And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to you servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness…And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continue to speak the word of God with boldness.” Acts 4:29-31.
That’s all they asked for.
We should boldly pray for our churches, our friends and fellow members and those outside who need to be with us.
Pray for Boldness today.
And be shaken.
(That would be kind of cool, don’t cha think?)
Persecution, no. But being shaken, I’m thinking yes.
Sally didn't open up much. She kept her thoughts to hershell and her God.
Day 10 of transforming. All we have to do is believe in someone.
If we believe in someone, sooner or later — we have to talk to them.
By talking to them and observing them — we learn if that belief is justified. And if it’s worthy of trust.
Funny though, the converse is a little harder.
What if someone believes in you? Really believes in you.
How does that make you feel?
Why would anyone believe in me? They surely must not know me that well.
That’s the fun of meeting someone new. They’re easy to fool. But when people start wanting to find if their belief in us is justified things become tricky.
But God knows us better than we know ourselves — and he still wants us to spend every moment in his presence.
Hard to figure a guy like that out…
What do I really believe God thinks of me?
Alright. I know what I’m supposed to say, but what do I believe?
How could prayer change the way I think about myself?
Maybe I am not praying the right things?
It didn’t matter to Sally what any other oyster said or did.
“Jesus loves me this I know.”
That’s all she hummed to her little shellself all day long. And she believed.
Sitting at the bottom of the bay for hours ~ Sally had lots of time to think.
“There are moments when whatever be the attitude of the body, the soul is on its knee ~ Victor Hugo.
Mathison writes,”Prayer is just talking to God.”
I think. I think a lot. I guess that’s why I write. It’s just thinking that finally comes out some way in some form.
Because I think a lot, it’s always been easy for me to talk to God. It’s become the most natural thing in the world. I know that God must get a bit bored with it. I bore myself.
He loves it when we turn to Him — with the mundane or dramatic.
Of all that I’ve read these last nine days, this one statement I agree with completely. Reflecting on the well-known saying “Prayer changes things,” he writes…
“I’m not sure prayer changes things, but I know that prayer changes people, and people change things.”
It changes me. Not that I’m perfect. When I come up short, I talk to Him about that.
The more we spend time in prayer with God, the more it becomes a conversation. As well as commenting on the lovely blue sky, the beauty of the rain (when it finally comes) and dear cat that strolls up to rub your leg; we listen to His reply.
Not that I’m not never sad, questioning or pity-party tantrum mad — but I never feel rejected or alone.
God hungers for our attention. Spend some time talking with Him today — you can feel His pleasure.
What are your thoughts on today’s reading?
Sally the oyster had a slight problem. She kept waking up in the wrong bed.
Day 6 of treasures of the transformed life. overcoming obstacles.
Mathison observed as you commit to God and commit to studying His word ~ there is going to be resistance.
He referenced Matthew 4, the temptation of Jesus. The temptations came in three categories. A temptation to a physical appetite, to a personal exception and a temptation of power.
The physical appetite = Jesus had fasted for 40 days. Satan knowing Jesus’ power suggested he turn the stones to bread. That’s our weakness to alcohol, too much food, sex without boundaries, any physical weakness. They are never satisfied. That’s why there’s never an open bag of Fritos allowed in our house. It’s not is not safe for me; it’s not safe for the Fritos.
The idea of exception = Satan told Jesus to fling Himself off the Temple because God would command His angels to rescue Him. We can sample drugs, indiscriminate sex, inappropriate relationships of any kind, walking through the shoe department at Nordstroms with only $50 dollars in our checking account
or texting v. inappropriate photos of ourselves to coworkers because we are a superstar football player who also happens to be a grandfather. Eeewww.
Because we are the exception. We can handle it.
Power = Satan offered Jesus a kingdom as far as the eye could see. Power as a temptation, nuff said.
“Once we’re in relationship with God, deciding whether or not to give into temptation becomes an easier choice.”
How could the enemy try to keep me from moving ahead in my walk with God?
One thing I’ve learned with temptation ~ when you least expect it expect it.
How could God help me fight temptation?
Make chocolate chip cookies calorie free.
God can’t exist with sin. When we try to satisfy our own messed-up-ness by giving into to temptation God is not going to bless that. He loves us too much.
I mean really ~ who could be afraid of this guy?
That’s the problem. The devil is not Jon Lovitz dressed up in a Halloween costume.
Plop that baby in a platinum setting. That says love to me.
Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples. John 13:34 – 35.
Those are Jesus words.
Mathison asks, “What does love really mean?”
No. In real non-fairy tale life it means…
or maybe this…
Someday my prince will come.
Heck. I don’t know what love means. Do you?
Putting the word Christian in front helps narrow down the possible definitions to the kind of love was Jesus talking about.
Mathison says this:
“But if we truly love each other — if we allow God to love others through us — then we’ll focus on helping others succeed. We’ll be willing to get our eyes off of ourselves for a while and put them on someone else.”
If I only had a little humility, I would be perfect. ~ Ted Turner.
We’re all incredibly full of self-love, if self-love is determined by amount of time we think about ourselves. It can manifest itself byhaving a huge (self-admitted) ego like Ted or ian incredibly insecure, inordinately preoccupied with self outlook on life.
Day 5 questions:
What’s my biggest challenge when it comes to loving other people.
Me — of course. As the fact I’m still on day 21 with my noncomplaining band suggests.
How could God change that?
Let’s not get personal.
Talk about a transformation.
I'm really spectacular with a little cocktail sauce behind my ears.
Are we there yet? No silly, we’re just on Day 4, Chapter 4 ~ finding a niche.
Mathison asks the question—what makes a person want to run?
This is a very painful question for me right now.
This happened while running. I started out with both knees, then one popped right off.
I can’t run right now. One joint that decides not to work can really mess with a girl’s plans.
Someone not doing their job in the church community might really mess up God’s plans.
No silly. God can do whatever He wills, through whomever he chooses, but it’s our loss when we chose to go bad on a poor woman three days before a half marathon.
Or choose to ignore that quiet tug.
You know the tug. The tug to serve in an area you’re naturally gifted — or sometimes doing the thing you feel incapable of doing but God sees you through.
One of my deepest friendships came over painting a refrigerator box in the shape of a trolley for Vacation Bible School.
Am I a functioning part of the Body of Christ? Why or why not?
My knee is not functioning. Is that an acceptable excuse?
How could God use me if I were committed to following his lead, instead of my own?
I could get white paint all over some one’s driveway — and have some of the best memories ever.
Good quote in reading..
It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not. ~ Author Unknown.
That unknown guy always makes a lot of sense. Imagine what he could have done for the church if he found a little God confidence?
Wonder what we all could do with a bit of faith-inspired God-fidence?